Wednesday, April 27, 2011

SAT Essay

SAT Essay

It's hard to believe that after four years of high school, one three-hour session in a classroom could have more meaning than the other 1460 days that are spent in a high school classroom. Yet that's what I found in the process of reaching college. The Standardized Aptitude Test, more commonly known as the SAT's plays a major role in the acceptance or rejection from college. It is absurd that this three hour test is the deciding factor for the future of students. It is much more important that colleges look at your high school grades. Looking at these grades will show the admissions how much effort the student puts into schoolwork.

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Last year, as a high school senior, I applied to twelve schools. I applied to so many due to the fact that standards of schools vary from year to year. My number one choice was the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. I had always wanted to go there since my older cousins went there and raved about what a remarkable school it was. I did not have a tutor or attend any prep classes for the SAT's since my parents did not feel the courses were necessary. I looked over a few practice exams so that the test would be familiar to me. I came out with an 1150, a score which I was certainly proud of, being that I had no preparation. Now I knew that Michigan would definitely be a reach for me to get into. I had a 3.5(93) GPA in high school, and a strong list of outside activities that I participated in. My SAT score was the only thing that would bring me down. I sent my applications out early since admission at U of M is rolling. Within a few weeks I received a letter saying that I was deferred, meaning that I was still in consideration, and my application would be reviewed at a later date. A few months later I received the rejection letter.

I knew Michigan would be a reach for me, but I figured that since my GPA was high, that maybe my SATs wouldn't weigh as much on their decision. I was devastated, and became very angered at the fact that I did not make the school of my dreams because of this one 3-hour test. From this I concluded that the SAT's are a poor representation of intelligence.

There are many reasons why the SAT is a biased test. Some people may be able to afford tutors and prep classes for the test, which puts them at an unfair advantage. I know that many of my friends met with tutors since junior year. The tutor came to their houses once a week at a cost anywhere from 60 to 150 dollars per hour. The students that possessed this luxury did very well on the SAT. One of my friends went up 400 points from the PSAT. So in this aspect the test favors wealthy people.

SAT scores are gapped between different groups of people. According to Jack Marks of the Daily Report Card newspaper, “Students in the three categories of Hispanic or Latino backgrounds also lagged behind the average on both the math and verbal sections….. Another gap exists between urban and suburban scores. Average SAT scores in the suburbs are above the national average and rising, while scores in urban and rural areas are falling further below the average, according to the College Board." "The gap between Whites and Latinos was sixty points a decade ago, and has increased to sixty-seven points in the year 2000. There is an even larger gap between Whites and African-Americans." “In 1990, there was a ninety-one-point gap, which also increased to a ninety-four-point gap in 2000. In addition to those racial gaps, there is a large gender gap as well".Though women generally receive higher grades in school, men repeatedly do better on both sections of the SAT's (Weiner, 95)."

The test does not assess information that the students have learned in school. It also only tests two subject areas out of the many that students may be strong in. The standardized test is justified for the fact that it levels out the playing field for all high school students. It is true that students GPA's can be affected by different things, such as easy or hard teachers, or how teachers evaluate their students. Therefore a test is needed that can equalize all students. I propose to do away with the SAT I, and make students take the SAT which are subject based tests that are optional. This is a much better way to asses the students. It will enable admissions counselors to see how much effort they put into studying, and preparing for the test, and how knowledgeable the student is in the subject. This would certainly be a more effective way of evaluating the students, because it is on material that has recently been covered in school, which is the same way that college exams work. The SAT I tests some subject matter, which is never covered in school. For example, the analogy section of the verbal part. It doesn't matter how many vocabulary words you memorize, because there are over a billion words in the English dictionary, any of which can be on the test. As for the math section, most of the concepts in it were last covered in 8th or 9th grade. By giving the SAT II students will be able to I now attend The Pennsylvania State University, number 45 for academics in the country according to US News and World Report. It is a great school, and I am very happy here. I still wish I would have been accepted to the University of Michigan, which is number 25 for academics in the country according to US News and World Report, but my credentials didn't meet their standards. After contacting your admissions counselors I became aware of the fact that I was not accepted because of my SAT score. This news upset me because maybe if I had a tutor or taken a class I would have been accepted. I hope that you will take my suggestion into consideration. You will be missing out on some very intelligent students that would benefit your institution.

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